Friday, June 26, 2009

Commentary on The Cleansing of the Leper

8:2. And behold a leper came and adored him, saying: Lord,
if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

8:3. And Jesus stretching forth his hand, touched him,
saying: I will, be thou made clean. And forthwith his
leprosy was cleansed.

8:4. And Jesus saith to him: See thou tell no man: but go,
shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses
commanded, for a testimony unto them.

Ver. 2. As the three evangelists relate the cure of the leper in nearly the same
words, and with the same circumstances, we may conclude they speak of the same
miracles. St. Matthew alone seems to have observed the time and order of this
transaction, viz. after the sermon of the mount; the other two anticipate it. The Bible
de Vence seems to infer, from the connection St. Matthew makes between the
sermon of the mount and the cure of the leper, that it was not the same leper as that
mentioned, Mark i. 40. Luke v. 12. (Bible de Vence) --- Adored him. In St. Mark it is
said, kneeling down, chap. i. 40. In St. Luke, prostrating on his face. It is true, none
of these expressions do always signify the adoration or worship which is due to God
alone, as may appear by several examples in the Old and New Testament; yet this
man, by divine inspiration, might know our blessed Saviour to be both God and man.
(Witham) ---
"Make me clean;" literally, "purify me;" the law treated lepers as impure.
(Bible de Vence) --- The leper, by thus addressing our Saviour acknowledges his
supreme power and authority, and shews his great faith and earnestness, falling on
his knees, as St. Luke relates it. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. xxvi.)
Our prayer
should be such with great faith and confidence, qualified with profound humility, and
entire diffidence of self.

Ver. 3. Jesus, stretching forth his hand, touched him. By the law of Moses,
whosoever touched a leper, contracted a legal uncleanness: but not by touching in
order to heal him, says Theophylactus. Besides, Christ would teach them that he
was not subject to this law. (Witham) ---
"Touched him." To shew, says St. Cyprian,
that his body being united to the Divinity, had the power of healing and giving life.

Also to shew that the old law, which forbad the
touching of lepers, had no power over
him; and that so far from being defiled by touching him, he even cleansed him who
was defiled with it. (St. Ambrose)
--- When the apostles healed the lame man, they
did not attribute it to their own power, but said to the Jews: Why do you wonder at
But when our Saviour heals the leper, stretching out his hand, to shew he was
going to act of his own power, and independently of the law, he said: "I will. Be thou
clean;" to evince that the cure was effected by the operation of his own divine will.

(St. John Chrysostom, hom. xxvi.)

Ver. 4.
For a testimony to them. That is, when the priest finds thee truly cured, make
that offering which is ordained in the law. (Witham) ---
He did this to give us an
example of humility,
and that the priests, by approving of his miracle, and being
made witnesses to it, might be inexcusable, if they can still call him a transgressor
of the law, and prevaricator. He moreover gives this public testimony to them of his
divine origin. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. xxvi.) St. John Chrysostom, in his third
book on the priesthood, says:
"the priests of the old law had authority and privilege
only to discern who were healed of leprosy, and to denounce the same to the people;
but the priests of the new law have power to purify, in very deed, the filth of the soul.

Therefore, whoever despiseth them, is more worthy to be punished than the rebel
Dathan and his accomplices." Our Saviour willeth him to go and offer his gift or
sacrifice, according as Moses prescribed in that case, because the other sacrifice,
being the holiest of all holies, viz. his body, was not yet begun. (St. Augustine, lib. ii. &
Evang. ii. 3. & cont. adver. leg. & Proph. lib. i. chap. 19, 20.)

May we pray for the Great Faith and confidence in Our Lord as the Leper shows us in today's Gospel Reading From Matthew. Jesus is the supreme and Divine Healer of Our Souls if only we step out and ask him.
Lord, if thou wilt you thou can make me clean. And Jesus does will it for each of us. So be bold and courageous in Faith.

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